ACE Alumni Spotlight: Amy Sams

June 20, 2024

Bianca Stakes

Marketing Content and Communications Specialist

Welcome to the ACE Alumni Spotlight, where we highlight our alumni and share their stories.

Amy Sams is a seasoned educator and two-time ACE graduate working on her third degree program. Currently serving as a principal, she graduated with an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership in 2014 and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership (now called Ed.S. in Leadership) in 2021. Sams will finish an Ed.D. in Leadership in 2025. We were excited to learn more about her career path and experience at ACE.

ACE: You’re currently working toward your third degree at ACE. How did earning your first degree with us motivate you to continue?

Amy Sams (AS): When I started my master’s program, I was worried about how I would balance everything in my life. At the time, I was teaching high school English full-time and working part-time at a retail store with a husband and daughter at home. I loved the format of only five weeks of work and then a break before the next course. That flexibility and pacing encouraged me to return to ACE when I became a school administrator and wanted to earn my next degree.

ACE: How has continuing your education at ACE impacted your career?

AS: Everything I’ve learned in my ACE programs has made me a stronger educator. I have been able to apply the content of the classes to so many different situations in working with students, staff and other stakeholders. I have more confidence in myself because of the knowledge I have gained and because of the success I have had in balancing my personal life, professional life and post-graduate work.

ACE: As you’ve progressed through different degree levels, what have you observed is similar or different?

AS: The similarities are the strong points of ACE – the flexibility to work on your assignments on your own timetable and the pace which challenges you without being overwhelming. The differences are subtle yet so important. With each advancement in degree levels, I’ve noticed how the instructors balance their responses with guidance, yet leave it open for you to experience a productive struggle. They truly help you grow appropriately at each level.

ACE: You’ve been in administration as a principal for a while now. What do you love about being an educational leader?

AS: I love my job as a school principal. My favorite part is watching my staff deepen their instructional strategies. When they come to me to share how a new idea was successful, they are so proud of themselves. It’s like watching their inner child come out, and I feel like a proud mama. Being an educational leader is a challenge, but I enjoy the variety of responsibilities. Not only do I have to be an instructional leader, but I must manage finances, facilities, staffing, marketing and community relations. It’s truly a fun job for me.

ACE: What advice would you give to someone who might be considering coming back for another program?

AS: I encourage others to reflect on their goals. Do not let feelings of doubt hold you back. You are capable of more than you realize when you set your mind to it. Be ready for the amazing growth you’ll see in yourself when you accomplish the task of managing your normal responsibilities and earning that degree – there’s no other feeling quite like it!

Being an American College of Education alumni has its perks. When you return as an alumni for another program, you can save 5% off your tuition with the Alumni Continuing Education Grant.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Bianca Stakes
Bianca Stakes, Marketing Content and Communications Specialist

Bianca Stakes received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from LSU Shreveport in 2017 upon an Associate of Applied Science in Communication Media. Her areas of expertise include email marketing, copywriting, copyediting and project management. Outside of marketing, Stakes enjoys advocating for individuals with disabilities, gardening, Hallmark movies and church.

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